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What audio format gives the best sound quality? - Page 3

post #31 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by DougofTheAbaci View Post

 


 

Not really. Well, yes, yes it is in a way. PNG also does alpha-channels. However, BMP is a raster format and a lossless one at that. However, so is PNG. PNG also comes in two flavors: 8-bit and 24-bit. Both support alpha-channels (to different degrees) but you can turn them off when saving. It's actually a way you can save on file size. The only part that's disingenuous is the fact that BMPs are a legacy format as far as I'm concerned and PNGs are not. So no, not disingenuous at all. Using the argument, "It's a poorly compressed image format," isn't an excuse, it's my complaint.


It is disingenuous to criticize the programming skills of a company when comparing a legacy format by this company (especially when BMP is usually *not compressed*) and a non legacy one. For example the clunkiness of WMP's library management is a more valid criticism.
Edited by khaos974 - 5/18/11 at 11:18pm
post #32 of 61

Well, one nice thing about BMP is that it's not compressed at all.  So it's easier on programmers and people who want to peek inside the file without decoding any algorithms.

post #33 of 61

Justin Beaver sounds best at 0 KBps.

 

@Khaos974: I don't agree. When both formats are still pushed as a mainstream format it's very fair to compare them, even if one is from the early days of image formats and the other incorporates all that is wonderful in image data compression. Windows still likes BMPs and the OS uses a number of resources that are BMPs. Ergo, a comparison, and thus pointing out how crap BMP is in comparison, is just fine.

 

@DaBomb77766: I can see how that would be useful to people just learning to code and create their own filetypes but for practical use, with one such example being browser-based imagery, it has no benefit over any other format. Certainly not in size or compatibility. Well... Unless you count being able to be viewed in just about every version of Windows ever created a benefit. Personally, I don't.

 

Anyway, we're getting really off track. I was using it as a comparison of how Microsoft filetypes have a habit of being legacy-tied and how I would have assumed WMA Lossless suffered from the same issue. That's why I'm curious to hear more about the mentioned file inconsistencies that were seen when going WAV > WMAL >WAV that weren't present in WAV > FLAC > WAV. I'd still like to hear if FLAC is the only mainstream lossless format that does this right and if ALAC and OGG suffer from the same flaw.


Edited by DougofTheAbaci - 5/19/11 at 12:22am
post #34 of 61
There are RLE compressed BMP files, and yes, the comparison is out of place, BMP isn't and hasn't been pushed as a mainstream format for many years. Even paint can save PNG files since Vista.

Back on track, you can verify it yourself via the method I showed earlier.
post #35 of 61

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DougofTheAbaci View Post

 

Not really. Well, yes, yes it is in a way. PNG also does alpha-channels. However, BMP is a raster format and a lossless one at that. However, so is PNG. PNG also comes in two flavors: 8-bit and 24-bit. Both support alpha-channels (to different degrees) but you can turn them off when saving. It's actually a way you can save on file size. The only part that's disingenuous is the fact that BMPs are a legacy format as far as I'm concerned and PNGs are not. So no, not disingenuous at all. Using the argument, "It's a poorly compressed image format," isn't an excuse, it's my complaint.

 

@Mad Max: Would you be so kind as to perform the same test with an ALAC file? I'm curious to see how they compare. I'm going to stick with ALAC simply because I can't use FLAC on my iPhone, but it'd be interesting to know.


Certainly.

APE had the same results as FLAC, I think, though I need to check that again.  I tried ALAC once, I think it didn't pass like WMAL, but I had used dBpoweramp for encoding to ALAC, which I get the feeling that I shouldn't trust.  I will try it again with iTunes only instead, though I'm not sure I can trust that program either.  I certainly can't hear a difference between ALAC, FLAC and APE.

 

Gotta love PNG, or JPEG set to 1% compression, LOL!

post #36 of 61

I always use FLAC on my old irive-H120 and very happy with the results.

post #37 of 61

Ugh... JPGs set to below 60 are borderline useless... Except, maybe, for gradients. Though, I find myself relying on PNGs more and more lately. One PNG sprite seems to be a significantly smaller file size than a mix of PNGs and JPGs.

 

I think you should be safe with iTunes, at least if you're using a Mac. iTunes uses the same CoreAudio library built into OS X that XLD uses for ALAC conversion, last I heard anyway. Otherwise, again if you have a Mac, XLD would be a pretty good app to use.

 

Heck, one solution might be to find one app that can do all the conversions and check all of them with that app. That way you're guaranteed to get uniform results. It would also be a good way to test the app as we've already established FLAC should produce perfect results.

post #38 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by DougofTheAbaci View Post

Ugh... JPGs set to below 60 are borderline useless... Except, maybe, for gradients. Though, I find myself relying on PNGs more and more lately. One PNG sprite seems to be a significantly smaller file size than a mix of PNGs and JPGs.

 

I think you should be safe with iTunes, at least if you're using a Mac. iTunes uses the same CoreAudio library built into OS X that XLD uses for ALAC conversion, last I heard anyway. Otherwise, again if you have a Mac, XLD would be a pretty good app to use.

 

Heck, one solution might be to find one app that can do all the conversions and check all of them with that app. That way you're guaranteed to get uniform results. It would also be a good way to test the app as we've already established FLAC should produce perfect results.


 

I'm sure what you mean if that he should go with lossless audio, certainly not iTunes.

 

And agreed on PNGs, they're proving to be quite capable.

 

Anyway, there are already two hugely popular ripping apps around here, so no need to go any further.

post #39 of 61

No, I meant iTunes on the Mac because, as I already pointed out, as far as I'm aware many of the more popular audio conversion apps, like XLD, use CoreAudio just like iTunes. As such, the results should be identical on Mac. If I'm misinformed about that then I'd like to know but simply saying you're certain I didn't mean iTunes because you don't like iTunes is not a valid explanation for anything except your dislike of iTunes.

post #40 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by DougofTheAbaci View Post

No, I meant iTunes on the Mac because, as I already pointed out, as far as I'm aware many of the more popular audio conversion apps, like XLD, use CoreAudio just like iTunes. As such, the results should be identical on Mac. If I'm misinformed about that then I'd like to know but simply saying you're certain I didn't mean iTunes because you don't like iTunes is not a valid explanation for anything except your dislike of iTunes.



So far you've been propagating your worship of all Apple related things throughout various threads, that's certainly crystal clear.

 

Still, you haven't explained why should audio be converted to closed ALAC instead of ANY open lossless. After all, there are certainly a ton of quality formats to choose from.

 

But iTunes certainly feels like an easier and more logical solution for Macs, mainly because of CoreAudio, as you pointed out.


Edited by Roller - 5/19/11 at 7:01pm
post #41 of 61

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Roller View Post

So far you've been propagating your worship of all Apple related things throughout various threads, that's certainly crystal clear.

 

Still, you haven't explained why should audio be converted to closed ALAC instead of ANY open lossless. After all, there are certainly a ton of quality formats to choose from.

 

But iTunes certainly feels like an easier and more logical solution for Macs, mainly because of CoreAudio, as you pointed out.



You obviously haven't been reading very closely. At each turn I've said, "Each one has it's benefits. Macs aren't just crap because they're Macs," and things of that nature. I've actually gone out of my way to be balanced against all the It's-Apple-Therefore-It-Must-Be-Crap crowd. Often that means pointing out the benefits of Mac in order to demonstrate a balance between options. A and B are both good for different reasons. A is better at this and B is better at that. Your needs will define which is better for you.

 

Take the example of ALAC. As a codec, it's pretty good, giving you good compression for a lossless format. It is, however tied to the iOS ecosystem and a proprietary format. In that sense, FLAC is better. However, FLAC is unsupported on iPods, iPhones and iPads. Were it supported? I'd probably go FLAC.

 

I could probably use FLAC now on my computer and have it convert to sit on my iPhone, but one of the things I like most about the Apple platform is that I can just let it do it's thing. Knowing how to do something and being able to do it is not the same thing as wanting to. For me, ALAC is best because it works on the devices I use. If someone didn't have an Apple device? I'd probably tell them to use FLAC as it's a great, free, well-supported format. It's just not supported by default on Apple software and devices.

post #42 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by DougofTheAbaci View Post



You obviously haven't been reading very closely. At each turn I've said, "Each one has it's benefits. Macs aren't just crap because they're Macs," and things of that nature. I've actually gone out of my way to be balanced against all the It's-Apple-Therefore-It-Must-Be-Crap crowd. Often that means pointing out the benefits of Mac in order to demonstrate a balance between options. A and B are both good for different reasons. A is better at this and B is better at that. Your needs will define which is better for you.

 

Take the example of ALAC. As a codec, it's pretty good, giving you good compression for a lossless format. It is, however tied to the iOS ecosystem and a proprietary format. In that sense, FLAC is better. However, FLAC is unsupported on iPods, iPhones and iPads. Were it supported? I'd probably go FLAC.

 

I could probably use FLAC now on my computer and have it convert to sit on my iPhone, but one of the things I like most about the Apple platform is that I can just let it do it's thing. Knowing how to do something and being able to do it is not the same thing as wanting to. For me, ALAC is best because it works on the devices I use. If someone didn't have an Apple device? I'd probably tell them to use FLAC as it's a great, free, well-supported format. It's just not supported by default on Apple software and devices.



Well, you made your point very well, no doubt there.

 

I have to agree that there is a rather tight integration between Apple's devices and services, which to an extent can benefit a user that agrees to follow the rules of the Apple ecossystem. Still, simple things like lack of handling portable iDevices storage as common mass storage device is a major hindrance, and was made with accessory sales in mind. A few profiteering things which I honestly despise. Overall, I feel they could be provide much better products and services, even if they already have those in a working level.

 

While iTunes is still improving on Windows, I feel that it performs optimally on OSX, which was felt by other Apple software, that by itself did perform rather well in its native environment, but when ported to Windows, things crumbled quite a bit, so to speak.

 

Oh, and let me be clear that I think Apple hardware (namely Mac Pro) can be very capable and powerful, while I have a rather opposite opinion regarding iTunes. It's almost like the smartphone, a device with multiple hardware features, that when scrutinized, one quickly realizes that it doesn't do any single feature at a level of excellence, even if it can do all those tasks acceptably.

 

Still, I wonder what further improvements can (lossless) formats have. Perhaps better compression ratios, though that would bring the risk of higher cpu loads in order to do real time decoding. Eventually, real improvements will have to come from hardware manufacturers. This, out of my head.


Edited by Roller - 5/19/11 at 8:57pm
post #43 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roller View Post

 

Still, I wonder what further improvements can (lossless) formats have. Perhaps better compression ratios, though that would bring the risk of higher cpu loads in order to do real time decoding. Eventually, real improvements will have to come from hardware manufacturers. This, out of my head.



I think APE is one of the formats that actually tries to make more improvements by requiring higher CPU loads since it uses a symmetrical encoding scheme.  Though I'm not sure if that actually translates to better compression ratios, I'd assume it would if their algorithms are good enough.

post #44 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaBomb77766 View Post





I think APE is one of the formats that actually tries to make more improvements by requiring higher CPU loads since it uses a symmetrical encoding scheme.  Though I'm not sure if that actually translates to better compression ratios, I'd assume it would if their algorithms are good enough.


I remember back in the day when a seek function with an ape file encoded with the "insane" setting to 10 seconds and pushed CPU usage to 100%.biggrin.gif:D:D
post #45 of 61

@Khaos974: You, sir, have been dated.

 

@Roller: I like my iPhone, be nice. It's like anything else, there are things it does very well and things it sucks at. I'm just glad Apple still refuses to budge on the whole Flash thing. I know to consumers that seems arbitrary and more a marketing move (and it most certainly is) but speaking as someone who got his start building Flash websites every single entire thing Apple said about Flash was true. The only reason I have it on my computer at all at this point is because some people still make websites that require it... *Sigh*

 

But yes, Apple's inflexibility at times is rather cumbersome. I still wish they'd change the iOS ecosystem so that you could buy through the App store if you wanted apps that were guaranteed to be compatible and safe then letting people put whatever they wanted on through iTunes. It's what you currently do with the Mac App Store. Oh well... Off topic.

 

What's the platform-support for APE like? I mean, Android is fully FLAC friendly last I looked. At least, most players and phones I've seen support FLAC. I don't often remember seeing APE.

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